Nov 12, 2009

Hotto Yuda, Kawashiri Onsen, Iwate Pref.

Green light shows you have at least 30 minutes for next train. (photo: Sep. 2005)

"Hotto Yuda" (ほっとゆだ) of Kawashiri Onsen (川尻温泉), Iwate Prefecture, Tohoku Region is one of the most unique onsens in Japan. There are working traffic lights inside of both bathrooms for men and women. Do you know public baths equipped with traffic lights in your countries? If you know the one, please leave a comment.

These traffic lights are not for car drivers, but for train passengers. Well, the Hotto Yuda is annexed to the train station of same name, "Hotto Yuda" of Kitakami Line. It's located in a rural area, and the train service is sporadic. If you miss a planned train, you might have to wait for a next train for hours, so these alarming lights are installed.

The onsen and the station share same building.

The lights are off most of the time, and the green lights come up when the next train comes in 30 to 45 minutes, then change to yellow (train comes in 15 to 30 minutes), and finally the red lights (15 minutes or less) turn on. You'll never miss the train, won't you?

I believe Japan has one of the most punctual train systems in the world. I hear a train conductor announces like "This train is running behind the schedule by 2 minutes 30 seconds. We apologize for the delay" once or twice a year (Usually they don't count the delay by a second unit). These traffic lights at the Hotto Yuda is also reliable as far as I know.

The Kashikiriburo or private bath. There is no traffic lights inside.

◆Hotto Yuda, Kawashiri Onsen (川尻温泉 ほっとゆだ)

Type: Gender separated indoor baths and a private bath. Day visit only.

Address: Chiwari 40, Nishiwaga-machi, Waga-gun, Iwate Pref.

Location: 39.31446,140.77542

Business hour: 7:00 AM to 9:00 PM

Holiday: Second Wednesday of every month, if a national holiday falls on, the following day

Admission fee: ¥250 (¥1600 for private bath)

Equipment: Stools and washing bowls only other than traffic lights inside bathrooms. No traffic lights for the private bath. No complementary soaps and shampoos. Resting space on upper floor is available with ¥350.

Access: Take JR Kitakami Line to Hotto Yuda Station.

Link: English map of Hotto Yuda (Scale changeable)

My rating (out of five): 3

The windows of the Hotto Yuda (right side of the photo) are covered with board not to peep from the platform.


  1. The 'traffic light' indeed is creative and really helpful :)

  2. This is cool. I used to live in this town many years ago (1988-1990) as an English teacher. That was when they started this onsen. Thanks for posting this! Mark


Anonymous comments not accepted.